French Court Says Being 'Allergic' To Gadgets Is An Actual Condition


A judicial court in France awarded a disability grant to a local woman claiming to suffer from severe discomfort brought on by the electromagnetic radiation from mobile phones and other electronic gadgets.

The plaintiff in the case, Marine Richard, is set to receive a disability allowance, amounting to around 800 euros ($912) each month for three years, after a court in Toulouse decided in favor of her claim.

The 39-year-old former producer of radio documentaries said that she suffers from a condition known as electromagnetic hypersensitivity (EHS), which is believed to be caused by exposure to Wi-Fi routers, mobile phones, televisions and other electronic devices.

While EHS sufferers claim to experience debilitating symptoms, such as headaches, nausea, fatigue, tingling or palpitations, there is no known scientific evidence to support this assertion.

The Toulouse court's ruling accepted that Richard's symptoms have prevented her from working, but it did not recognize that electromagnetic hypersensitivity as indeed an illness.

Alice Terrasse, Richard's lawyer, said that the rule provide a legal precedent for thousands of people, while Richard herself called it a "breakthrough."

Despite listing electromagnetic hypersensitivity as a condition, the World Health Organization (WHO) stated that the symptoms linked to exposure to electromagnetic waves do not have any scientific basis.

Only two countries in Europe, Germany and Sweden, classify electromagnetic hypersensitivity as a form of occupational illness.

The alleged links to EHS symptoms have been disproved through double-blind scientific tests, in which neither the researcher nor the patient was aware that they were subjected to electromagnetic exposure. Many experts even attribute the condition to phobia in the patient's part.

Other theories suggest that the symptoms of electromagnetic hypersensitivity could be triggered by the reverse effect of placebo known as the nocebo effect. This is believed to occur when individuals feel that they are sick because they think they have been exposed to a potentially harmful substance.

Earlier this week, a couple in Massachusetts filed a lawsuit against a local boarding school for exposing their son to Wi-Fi signal and making him sick.

The unidentified couple said that their 12-year-old son now suffers from symptoms of electromagnetic hypersensitivity after having been exposed to Wi-Fi signal coming from the Fay School located in Southborough.

According to reports, the family seeks $250,000 in damages and demands that the Fay School either switch to Ethernet cable internet access or turn down its Wi-Fi signal.

Photo: Michael Coghlan | Flickr

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